Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Suicide and unemployment in Italy, 1982-1994.
  1. A Preti,
  2. P Miotto
  1. CMG, Psychiatry Branch, Cagliari, Italy.


    OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether either the condition of being unemployed, or changes in unemployment rates are associated with suicide risk. DESIGN: Administrative data for suicide according to occupational status have been analysed considering three employment categories: employed, seeking new job (unemployed), seeking first job (never employed). Comparison of suicide rates by economic position and correlation between suicide and unemployment rates have been made. SUBJECTS AND SETTINGS: 20,457 deaths by suicide registered in Italy among economically active people from 1982 to 1994. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Change over time in suicide rates by economic position; coefficient of aggravation according to occupational status. RESULTS: Suicide rates among the unemployed are clearly and constantly higher than those among the employed: up to three times higher among men, and twice as high among women. Among the unemployed a clear and significant rise in suicide rates in both sexes took place over the study period; suicide rates among the employed showed a less marked increase. The rise in suicide rates was accompanied by a concurrent rise in unemployment rate percentage. Men seem to be affected most by this change in unemployment rate percentage; women are subject to less evident influences and variations. CONCLUSION: Different suicidal behaviour trends among unemployed compared with employed people indicate that unemployment (and above all the prospect of not having access to a working role) acts as a contributing factor for suicide. Unemployment, even if symptomatic of a mental disorder, should therefore always be taken into consideration as a risk factor for suicide: the potentially lethal consequences of its negative influence on both self esteem and the ability to use supportive networks in a efficient way is an element to which great attention should be paid.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.